Last week I wrote about alternatives to Twitter, sparked by the rapid changes to the platform under its new billionaire owner. Focusing on our own professional community—the meeting (and hospitality) industry—I’d like to make a modest proposal for a social media platform that might meet our needs better. In other words: an #eventprofs alternative to Twitter. (And LinkedIn and Meta, too.)
Mastodon turns out to be an excellent social media platform that can connect you with your tribe while still giving you full access to posts and conversations over the entire network.
“[Mastodon’s] free and open-source software enables anyone to run a social media platform entirely on their own infrastructure, entirely under their own control, while connecting to a global decentralized social network.”
—from a Mastodon blog post
Think of Mastodon as a “galaxy of interconnected social networks based on a common platform”. To recap key points from my recent post:
- No one owns Mastodon, it runs on free, open-source software. There are no ads. The platform has currently about 8 million members, with more arriving daily.
- Anyone can set up a Mastodon server (aka instance) that focuses on a specific community of any kind. (For example, as I write this, journalists are flocking to Mastodon after Musk banned some, apparently for writing critically about him. Already, people have set up a number of instances for journalists.)
- Mastodon works like Twitter but with longer posts (up to 500 characters) and important design differences that discourage those who are trying to build their followers and influence by any means possible.
- Each Mastodon server has its own community, rules, admins, and moderation. Mastodon’s structure and moderation tools permit a series of efficient and immediate actions against “bad” accounts or instances, where “bad” is defined by the instance administrators and community.
- Running a Mastodon instance requires some work and a fairly modest amount of money. The cost rises with the number of users, so you can start small and see how popular your instance becomes. A server with five thousand users currently costs ~$150/month for hosting and bandwidth. Many Mastodon servers are crowdfunded, though server admins are free to come up with other ways to cover costs. Some organizations set up their own instances for their employees and associated community.
The last bullet point leads me to my modest proposal. What if an industry leader like Freeman, RX, Cvent, PCMA, or MPI, to name a few, set up a Mastodon server for the event and hospitality industry?
Mastodon: An #eventprofs alternative to Twitter?
“Mastodon is my favorite alternative to Twitter, and I’m spending more and more time on it. It feels like the early days of Twitter: a fresh, relatively uncrowded, environment where I’m continually meeting new interesting folks. I’ve had many more personal interactions on Mastodon than any of the other alternatives I’ve tried. If the future of Twitter worries you, I think Mastodon is the place to go.”
—Adrian Segar, Alternatives to Twitter
Up to now, the event and hospitality community has no single logical place to exist online. Communities are fragmented over Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, and thousands of niche platforms and spaces. Wouldn’t it be great if we could have our own instance (or a few perhaps) where industry members could meet, connect, post, and converse?
The beauty of implementing such a community on Mastodon is the platform’s flexibility. Mastodon doesn’t lock you into one instance once you’ve joined it. For example, in the future people might decide to have separate servers for events and hospitality folks. Users are free to move their accounts, with all their posts and followers, to a new instance. Or even join both instances if they want.
That’s my case for creating an #eventprofs alternative to Twitter. I think that Mastodon offers just the right balance of a place for our tribe together with natural connections to a much larger Fediverse of communities. I hope this short post stimulates people and organizations to build a better place than Twitter, LinkedIn, and Meta for the #eventprofs community to meet, convene, and converse online.
5 thoughts on “An alternative to Twitter for #eventprofs”
OY about #Mastodon – I got the app.; tried to figure it out. And perhaps it’s year end mishegas that is making it more difficult. I’ll read your posts more carefully and see what I think. Many of those I follow in and outside our industry are still on Twitter. Maybe we hope he can be moved out. Tho’ Jeff Bezos is not a saint (at all!) he has let the Wash Post run well since purchasing. It’s whether Musk goes through with stepping down because the polls said so AND then what!
No question that many in our industry are still on Twitter (including me). Getting started on Mastodon is like getting started with email. For email, you need to choose and create an account with a host like Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, etc. For Mastodon, you need to choose a specific server (aka “instance”) to join, with the benefit that your instance can reflect a specific community (geographical, professional, cultural, ethnic, etc.). [If you want a good intro to getting started on Mastodon, see my previous post: https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/social-media-2/2022/12/alternatives-to-twitter/%5D
Who knows if and when Musk will leave Twitter, or what the aftermath of his blundering will be? Whatever happens, I don’t think the time has ever been better to put energy into federated social media like Mastodon that no one owns and that can continually evolve in response to any community’s wants and needs.
Let’s do a 15-minute coffee chat!
Sure, I emailed you!
I’m happy to announce that Thorben Grosser [@thorbeng on Twitter] has set up a Mastodon instance for #eventprofs: eventprofs.social.
Join us! Here’s an invite: https://eventprofs.social/invite/qCcHwdf6 #eventprofs #assnchat